The best US war journalist ever?

Discussion in 'The Barracks' started by HA96, Jul 2, 2018.

  1. HA96

    HA96 Member

    The German born aristocrat Karl von Wiegand interviewed almost all the big ones in WW1 and WW2.
    and also almost influenced the way WW1 was going, because he was close to Woodrow Wilson too.

    WW2: he claimed: "I put Hitler on te map".
    Very interesting man.
  2. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member

    Ernie Pyle was by far the best with Eric Severeid coming up closely behind him.

    Pyle has a way with words.

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  3. HA96

    HA96 Member

    what did Ernie and Eric do, Karl never achieved?
  4. Incredibledisc

    Incredibledisc Well-Known Member

    Pyle reported from the front lines and was sadly killed during the battle of Okinawa while Severeid covered the fall of France and Battle of Britain before being shot down over Burma.

    These sorts of comparisons are essentially meaningless though. Who’s best is purely subjective.
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  5. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

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  6. Incredibledisc

    Incredibledisc Well-Known Member

    Good shout Ron. Murrow’s London broadcasts were fantastic. His later sparring with Joe McCarthy was also laudable.
  7. Osborne2

    Osborne2 Active Member

    I do not put these forward as the best but the generality of this thread deserves a mention of four.
    Frederick Oechsner "This is the Enemy" Heinemann 1943, Central European Manager United Press,
    Harry Flannery "Assignment to Berlin" Michael Joseph 1941.
    Howard K Smith "Last Train from Berlin" Cresset 1942
    Lastly the best known, Bill Shirer, Berlin Diary.

    All present an illuminating insight into life in Berlin as air raids happened, financial shenanigans, rationing starting to bite and Goebbels propaganda machine tried to clamp down on them etc. All got out before Hitler declared war on the USA in the wake of Pearl Harbor. Somewhere in Flannery is a description of a Wurzburg radar on a Berlin flak tower, possibly the first written description in history. He had not got a clue what it was.

    This was edited because of a mistake pointed out below, yet another one I have made. Thanks for pointing it out.
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2018
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  8. Seroster

    Seroster Canadian researcher

    Osborne, I think you have a bit of a mixup. I searched for "Last Train from Berlin" and it was written by Harold K. Smith. Harry Flannery's book was "Assignment to Berlin".

  9. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    We had some fine ones in Vietnam: Don Oberdorfer, Karsten Praeger, the romantic Sean Flynn (MIA), and Mike Herr (author of Dispatches).

    I don't know WWII journalism as well as I should. Murrow's reporting from London undoubtedly had an important effect on American attitudes, as did Shirer's Berlin stuff. Pyle was respected by the troops mainly because he got up front so often and took the same risks they did, but I read a few of his pieces years ago and they are so full of the folksy style of that time that I found them indigestible. Bill Mauldin, I think, was more honest about what the men were actually facing and about how their attitudes changed as a result. Mauldin is most famous for his cartoons, and rightly so, but his text for Up Front is pretty direct and has nothing false or patronizing.
  10. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    I have always been somewhat cynical over the role of WW2 journalists because of the well documented censorship. Even the best of them were subject to stringent military restrictions. The Canadian military severely and comprehensively regulated war news from all theatres of war. The myth creation and extended cover up of the facts behind the Dieppe Raid being a classic case in point.

    Charles Lynch, one of the most well regarded Canadian journalists of that period and afterwards, made the admission, " It’s humiliating to look back at what we wrote during the war. It was crap – and I don’t exclude the Ernie Pyles or the Alan Mooreheads. We were a propaganda arm of our governments. At the start the censors enforced that, but by the end we were our own censors. We were cheerleaders. I suppose there wasn’t an alternative at the time. It was total war. But, for God’s sake, let’s not glorify our role. It wasn’t good journalism. It wasn’t journalism at all. "
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2018
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